June 26, 2022



Air Force offers to move military families impacted by state anti-LGBTQ laws

2 min read

In a surprising response to a wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation across the country, the U.S. Air Force is offering medical and legal help to military families personally impacted by state laws against gay and transgender children. The military service is also offering to help service members leave those states if needed.

Air Force leaders announced in a March press release that there are medical, legal and other resources available to help support members and their families in these times. So far, it’s the only U.S. military branch to do this. 

“The health, care and resilience of our [Air Force] personnel and their families is not just our top priority – it’s essential to our ability to accomplish the mission,” Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones said in the release. “We are closely tracking state laws and legislation to ensure we prepare for and mitigate effects to our Airmen, Guardians and their families.”

In the release, Air Force leaders recommended families needing help with screening, treatment or mental health support, first consult with Air Force medical treatment facilities. They also said military legal personnel could help provide free counsel to families that need help understanding legal protections. 

Air Force leadership also told members they could rely on the Exception Family Member Program if they need to be relocated to a different state. “As is the case with all of our family members, if the support a family member needs becomes unavailable, commanders can work to get the service member to an assignment where their loved ones can receive the care they need,” Jones said.

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The Air Force’s announcement follows a push from Republicans across the country targeting LGBTQ youth ahead of this year’s mid-term elections. In February, Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate certain gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth as child abuse.

In Florida, which hosts the largest Air Force base in the world, Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which restricts instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has expressed interest in adopting a similar bill in the Lone Star State. 

“These discriminatory policies, bills and laws are causing real harm and distress to LGBTQ+ families,” Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Delphine Luneau told the Huffington Post. “Like any good employer, the Air Force is taking steps to support their service members and their families.” 

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